We are seeing mite activity starting to occur. Mite damage has been reported from in many areas of the country. In turfgrass we have two major types of mites, the winter grain mite and the clover mite. Both mites cause damage from their rasping mouthparts.
The mouthparts are like a file that is rubbed across the leaf surface. This rasping breaks open the cells, allowing the mites to consume the cell contents. This type of feeding causes the leaf blade to appear silver in color. With time the leaves will desiccate and turn brown. Where the feeding occurs can help in determining which mite is feeding there. Clover mites usually feed along the foundations of buildings and the winter grain mite usually feeds in more open turf. Both mites begin their feeding in the fall and feed over the winter. Damage is most noticeable in the spring when the turf begins to green up and the damaged areas appear brown.
Winter grain mites are black in color with bright red legs they have two generations per year. Their max development is usually in April.
The clover mite is olive green in color with orange legs. Clover mites can have up to 2-3 generations per year. Turfgrass mites have simple life cycles and all stages can be found in the turf.
Look in shaded areas to find the mites, as they avoid direct sunlight. Mites can be found by holding a piece of white paper next to the edge of the damaged blades and brushing the turf toward the paper. These extremely small mites will start to move on the paper.
Both mites can be controlled with general surface insecticides such as Bifenthrin 7.9 on residential lawns and Chlorpyrifos 4E on golf courses.
Bifenthrin 7.9F provides long-lasting control of over 75 pests and is approved for multiple use-sites so you can use it almost anywhere.
Proven control of hundreds of insect pests that delivers long-lasting control. Chlorpyrifos 4E stops pest feeding by inhibiting nervous system activity.
Technical Services Manager, Certified Professional Agronomist